for this game

Perkins, Pierce help Celtics cruise by Lakers

Nov 24, 2007 - 4:56 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- With the Los Angeles Lakers in town Friday night, the Boston Celtics gave the star-packed audience a performance worthy of "Showtime" in the 1980s.

Kendrick Perkins scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Paul Pierce added 20 points as the Celtics dispatched their long-lost playoff rival, 107-94, at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Kevin Garnett collected 21 points and 11 rebounds - his 10th double-double in 11 games - and Ray Allen scored 18 for the Celtics (10-1), who remained perfect at home in seven tries and improved upon the NBA's best record.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver arrived in the second quarter and headlined a list of stars courtside who came to see the NBA's fiercest rivalry from two decades ago renewed.

Former Celtics star Rick Fox and several members of the New England Patriots also took in the contest on Friday.

"You can tell the vibe of this arena seems to pick up with every game, it gets bigger and bigger," Allen said. "When we first got here (in the summer), we went to Red Sox games and Patriots games and now you see a lot of Patriots and Red Sox (players) and celebrities in this building. I think that adds to the intrigue here and the fans get even rowdier when they find out this is the place to be."

"I anticipated it to be what it was," Garnett said of his first Lakers-Celtics contest. "It felt like a playoff game atmosphere. This building has a lot of energy in it to begin with, and it was great. It was fun. Anytime you play Kobe (Bryant) and the Lakers, you know its going to be all out war, so tonight was no different."

By the time Schwarzenegger had settled in his seat, the Celtics had taken control of the game. For the second straight game, Boston built a double-digit lead in the first quarter as Allen scored all nine of his first-half points in the opening period en route to a 25-16 Celtics' lead after one.

The Lakers went on l3-5 run to cut their deficit to 30-25 early in the second as Los Angeles' bench helped give the visitors some energy.

But a driving layup by Pierce capped a 10-0 spurt as the Celtics built the lead to 40-25 with 7:15 remaining in the second.

Boston, which entered this game leading the league in field-goal percent defense (40.1), held Los Angeles to 33 percent shooting in the first half - including 1-of-13 from 3-point range.

"Just a great game overall," Rivers said. "Defensively, the first half was phenomenal, the third quarter was not. We let them hang around, but obviously, we got the win and we got it by a decent margin."

As a result, Bryant had eight points at the half, but on just 3-of-9 from the floor.

"It (guarding Bryant) definitely takes its toll," said Allen, who drew the job of trying to contain Bryant. "I said earlier today I wanted to make sure I kept him active as well when I was on offense. But in the first half, I just wanted to stay in front of him. He gives you a lot of pumpfakes, he's going to try to drive past you.

"It was like the 'big brother, little brother syndrome' having Kevin behind me and having (Perkins) behind me, because every time he drove, I'm thinking I was playing great defense, and I turn around, and they came to my help."

Boston was led by Pierce, who had 12 points, and Perkins, who matched his season high with 10.

"I was just really trying to focus on playing defense," Perkins said. "It seems like every time I do that, the ball always comes my way, and I get easy baskets."

"When they double-team (Perkins) he gets in this crouched position and sneaks around, and I'm trying to convince him that we can still see him," Celtics coach Doc Rivers added. "You know? He's 7-feet tall. He does it a lot. It's pretty comical. But today, he made himself a presence. He flashed hard to the paint and made his hands ready."

The Celtics connected on 50 percent of their shots from the floor before the start of the third quarter.

With a 53-35 lead at halftime, Boston kept the pressure on, making 12-of-22 shots from the floor and building its lead to 22 twice in the third. The Celtics led 84-66 after three.

"Our defense was poor," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I railed against our offense because we weren't executing at all. Guys came down and they just didn't find the rhythm with their offense. They kept us off-balance in the first half pretty well."

The game also marked two significant individual milestones for the Celtics as Pierce became the ninth Celtic ever to play in over 25,000 minutes while Allen became the 103rd player in NBA history to reach 30,000 minutes.

Both milestones were reached in the first quarter for Boston, which shot 51 percent (39-of-77).

Bryant scored 28 points, Vladimir Radmanovic added 18 and fellow reserve Jordan Farmar netted 13 for the Lakers, who dropped the final two games of a three-game road swing through Indiana, Milwaukee and Boston.

"Great team, great team. My reaction right now is that (Celtics vice president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) did a great job putting that team together," Bryant said. "You know he didn't just sit on the big acquisitions, he made some real key acquisitions that make them a championship-caliber team."

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